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Mental Health First Aid Training offered for EPCC Faculty and Staff

BY ALYSSA CHAVIRA



More than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness according to the Centers for Disease Control.


El Paso Community College is offering an 8-hour Mental Health First Aid training session for employees that could help students who might not have access to a certified specialist. Sessions will be held on Fridays or Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valle Verde campus at AST150, or the flexitorium. The sessions are free.


The training is meant to help attendees help understand, identify and respond to someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.


“Mental Health First Aid doesn't teach you to be a therapist, but it does teach you how you can provide initial help until appropriate professional resources are available, and that initial support can change everything,” said Psychology professor Carrie Vand Houdt, who coordinated the training. “Be prepared to deescalate incidents in the case of an emergency.”


Van Houdt said the training is also meant to benefit individuals who might not have access to a specialist due to financial needs and can look towards this training for guidance and seek help.


“The goal is if somebody is experiencing a mental illness, you can intervene and keep them calm while waiting for professional help,” she said. “If someone does get emotional, the trainers are good with helping them and being able to talk to them, one on one if they need it.”


Van Houdt has been in this program since 2018 and says that since then, EPCC has been making a lot of advancements for mental health.


If you or somebody you know struggles with mental health, EPCC's website has multiple outlets for you to reach out, get the help you deserve with a local helping hand.

 

Available training dates are March 1, April 6 and May 3. To sign up contact Carrie Van Houdt at cmelia@epcc.edu.

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